Federal Court Litigation

Litigation in federal court requires special skills and experience. The temperament and pace of litigation in federal court is generally different from that in state court. By this nature, federal cases involve significant financial stakes or complex federal law issues. At Shumaker, our federal court litigators have both the substantive knowledge and technical skill required for success in federal litigation.

Our federal court litigators regularly appear before the U.S. District Courts of Florida, Michigan, North Carolina and Ohio. Several are former law clerks to district court judges. Many of our federal court litigators also interact with the federal judges at seminar presentations and on local bar committees. These experiences enable us to achieve results for our clients.

Many times, our federal litigators have pursued significant federal issues and established new law in both the district courts and the Circuit Courts of Appeal. Our federal litigators have frequently participated in high-stakes business disputes and cases resulting in published opinions in litigation involving the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), the Bankruptcy Code, the Lanham Act and the Copyright Act.

In addition to these areas, our litigators also have experience with claims involving the following federal laws:

  • The Petroleum Marketing Practices Act
  • The Sherman Act, Clayton Act and Robinson-Patman Act
  • The 1933 and 1934 Securities Acts
  • Constitutional claims arising under the Bill of Rights including the 1st Amendment
  • The Federal Rehabilitation Act
  • The Family Medical Leave Act
  • Motor and rail carrier claims arising under federal statutes and regulations
  • The Social Security Act
  • Civil Rights Acts

Our experience and breadth of knowledge allows us to sit down with our clients facing the prospect of federal litigation, evaluate the issues, map out and execute a strategy, and achieve results that are significant and beneficial for our clients in an economical and efficient manner.

News Releases


08.19.2014Notable new follow-ups to recent ugly executions in Arizona and Ohio
08.19.2014Is an end to the modern drug war the only real way to prevent future Fergusons?
08.19.2014Senator Whitehouse defends risk-assessment tools for some sentencing determinations
08.19.2014"An Empirical Evaluation of the Connecticut Death Penalty System Since 1973: Are There Unlawful Racial, Gender, and Geographic Disparities?"
08.19.2014Washington appeals court strikes down sign-holding shaming sanction as statutorily unauthorized
08.18.2014Intriguing account of how Pittsburgh police undermined local crime-fighting efforts
08.18.2014More evidence of the poor funtioning of California's crime-and-punishment policies and practices
08.17.2014Noting a legal mess with sex offender registries that is not ok in OK
08.17.2014"Adverse childhood events: Incarceration of household members and health-related quality of life in adulthood"
08.16.2014Texas Gov Rick Perry facing two felony charges carrying significant mandatory minimum prison terms
08.16.2014Recent highlights from Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform
08.15.2014Eighth Circuit reverses 20-month sentence for police abuse and perjury as substantively unreasonable
08.15.2014More effective Slate coverage of extremes of (and problems with) sex offender registries
08.15.2014Senator Rand Paul blames ugliness of Ferguson on the ugliness of big CJ government
08.15.2014"Restructuring Clemency: The Cost of Ignoring Clemency and a Plan for Renewal"
08.14.2014Alabama federal judge has cases reassigned after his arrest for wife-beating
08.14.2014"How Prisoners' Rights Lawyers are Preserving the Role of the Courts"
08.14.2014US Sentencing Commission finalizes its policy priorities for coming year
08.13.2014"Waking the Furman Giant"
08.13.2014Noting the push for reforming the fraud federal sentencing guidelines
08.12.2014"Sex Offender Laws Have Gone Too Far"
08.12.2014Is preventing ex-prisoners from being homeless the key to preventing recidivism?
08.12.2014Eleventh Circuit finds probation sentence for public corruption substantively unreasonable
08.11.2014Three distinct takes on AG Eric Holder's recent reservations about risk-based sentencing
08.11.2014Federal district judge extends Ohio's death penalty moratorium based on execution challenges to January 2015
08.11.2014Ninth Circuit panel splits over prisoner Sixth Amendment suit about officials reading legal mail
08.10.2014Early data from Colorado suggest teenage use of marijuana is down since legalization
08.10.2014"Scientizing Culpability: The Implications of Hall v. Florida and the Possibility of a 'Scientific Stare Decisis'"
08.10.2014Can wine fraudster reasonably whine that his sentence was not reduced given wealth of victims?
08.09.2014"May the government try John Hinckley for James Brady's murder?"
08.08.2014"The High Costs of Low Risk: The Crisis of America's Aging Prison Population"
08.07.2014"Sociology of Prison Life"
08.07.2014Greek priest helps poor inmates buy their way out of Greek prisons
08.06.2014Notable discussion of traffic fatalities in Colorado after marijuana legalization
08.06.2014Another round of heated debate over guilt of executed Cameron Todd Willingham
08.06.2014Conservative Townhall publication provides more signs of modern political sentencing times
08.06.2014Mizzou complete uneventful execution with single dose of pentobarbital
08.06.2014Some sentencing reminders about what stalled in the "do-nothing Congress"
08.05.2014Check your local PBS listings for "15 to Life: Kenneth's Story"
08.05.2014Judge denies Florida sex offender's request to be physically castrated
08.05.2014"The Miller Revolution"
08.05.2014Is Jodi Arias really going to represent herself at her Arizona death penalty retrial?
08.04.2014Significant AG Holder comments asserting severe rigid sentences are not needed to induce cooperation
08.04.2014Will any Justices express any concerns about drug secrecy after third ugly execution?
08.04.2014"Women in the Federal Offender Population"
08.04.2014Sixth Circuit reverses federal forced labor conviction based on ordering kids to do household chores
08.03.2014Round-up some more potent posts from Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform
08.02.2014"Cougar caged: Public sex nets woman, 68, six months in the slammer"
08.02.2014Documenting the high health-care costs of an aging prison population in Oklahoma
08.02.2014"Swift, Certain, and Fair Punishment — 24/7 Sobriety and Hope: Creative Approaches to Alcohol- and Illicit Drug-Using Offenders"
08.01.2014Spotlighting that nearly all GOP Prez hopefuls are talking up sentencing reform
07.31.2014"Attorney General Eric Holder to Oppose Data-Driven Sentencing"
07.31.2014Sixth Circuit panel finds one-day prison sentence unreasonable for white-collar defendant
07.31.2014Making a libertarian case for "Why the Death Penalty Needs to Die"
07.31.2014More potent reviews of criminal justice data via the Washington Post's Wonkblog
07.30.2014"Right on Crime: A Return to First Principles for American Conservatives"
07.30.2014Indiana reforms highlight how sentencing laws impact cops as well as courts
07.30.2014After another ugly execution, will Missouri and Texas have any difficulties keep up monthly execution plans?
07.30.2014Should civilly committed sex offenders get in trouble for watching Game of Thrones?
07.30.2014"The Federal Marijuana Ban Is Rooted in Myth and Xenophobia"
07.29.2014US District Judge Gleeson prods prosecutors to undo stacked gun counts and then praises effort to do justice
07.29.2014"The Injustice of Marijuana Arrests"
07.29.2014Alabama struggling (and facing lawsuits) as sentencing toughness produces overcrowded prisons
07.28.2014"Are Opponents Of The Death Penalty Contributing To Its Problems?"
07.28.2014Fascinating Fourth Circuit split over how federal sentencing problems should inform guideline interpretation
07.27.2014Defender hiccup or major headache for Clemency Project 2014?
07.27.2014"Grace Notes: A Case for Making Mitigation the Heart of Noncapital Sentencing"
07.27.2014Another effective review of how Obamacare could be "an antidote to crime"
07.27.2014New York Times: "on every level — health effects, the impact on society and law-and-order issues — the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization"
07.27.2014New York Times: "on every level — health effects, the impact on society and law-and-order issues — the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization" of marijuana
07.26.2014Senator Rand Paul and Governor Chris Christine continue to make the case for criminal justice reforms
07.25.2014"After troubled execution in Arizona, Ohio to use same drugs, dosage"
07.25.2014Is Judge Kozinski recent opinion proof that "the death penalty is doomed"?
07.24.2014"There's little evidence that fewer prisoners means more crime"
07.24.2014"Paying for Gideon"
07.24.2014Round-up of posts from Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform
07.24.2014Rep. Ryan's new anti-poverty proposal calls for federal sentencing and prison reforms
07.23.2014Should federal prosecutors be able to read emails sent by prisoners to their lawyers?
07.23.2014"Fewer Prisoners, Less Crime: A Tale of Three States"
07.23.2014After SCOTUS vacates First Amendment stay, Arizona Supreme Court delays execution
07.23.2014After stays vacated, Arizona needs two hours to complete another ugly execution
07.22.2014John Oliver covers the realities of incarceration nation
07.22.2014After Kozinski's candor, what will SCOTUS due about First Amendment stay in Arizona capital case?
07.22.2014"Strictly Taboo: Cultural Anthropology's Insights into Mass Incarceration and Victimless Crime"
07.22.2014Within-guideline sentences remain below 50% according to latest quarterly USSC data
07.22.2014What do you get when you mix a challenge to a local $30 "booking fee" with a lot of very smart federal judges?
07.21.2014Split Ninth Circuit panel stays Arizona execution based on First Amendment (really?!?!) drug secrecy concerns
07.21.2014How many of nearly 50,000 federal prisoners need a lawyer to help with drug sentence reduction efforts? How many will get a lawyer?
07.21.2014"Liberal but Not Stupid: Meeting the Promise of Downsizing Prisons"
07.21.2014Thoughtful Teague-based criticism of the remarkable California capital ruling in Jones v. Chappell
07.20.2014Tragic and personal criminal justice story: the killing of Professor Dan Markel
07.19.2014US Attorney for NJ: "Ex-offenders get time, now they need opportunity"
07.18.2014Furman and randomness (not just delay) at heart of California capital ruling
07.18.2014USSC votes for full (though slightly delayed) retroactivity of new reduced drug guidelines
07.18.2014Split Iowa Supreme Court declares all mandatory juve sentencing terms violate state constitution
07.17.2014"Recalibrating Justice: A Review of 2013 State Sentencing and Corrections Trends"
07.17.2014Newt Gingrich saying again that "backing sensible and proven reforms to the U.S. criminal-justice system is a valuable conservative cause"
07.17.2014Divided en banc Third Circuit announces new approach to preserving procedural sentencing error claims
07.17.2014Lots of notable discussion of yesterday's notable decision striking down California's death penalty
07.17.2014Huge reduced drug guideline retroactivity decision expected from US Sentencing Commission on 7/18
07.16.2014Latest polling shows rich, white, midwestern guys aged 30-44 most likely to favor pot legalization
07.16.2014"Volunteers for Execution: Directions for Further Research into Grief, Culpability, and Legal Structures"
07.16.2014Federal district judge declares California's death penalty unconstitutional under Eighth Amendment
07.15.2014Careful examination of California's "mixed" record with realignment
07.15.2014Intriguing sparring over victims' rights in Colorado massacre capital case
07.14.2014Are federal drug sentences for mules now too short?
07.14.2014Third Circuit approves forcible medication to enable federal sentencing
07.14.2014Former Rep. (and former felon) Duke Cunningham now says "my Democrat colleagues were right and I was wrong on some issues as far as criminal justice"
07.14.2014Fourth Circuit to reconsider en banc its Whiteside ruling concerning reconsideration of guideline errors in 2255
07.14.2014"Moneyball Sentencing"
07.13.2014"4 Reasons Conservatives Are Embracing Prison Reform"
07.13.2014"An NTSB for Capital Punishment"
07.13.2014USSC Chair reiterates Commission's sentencing reform message to House Judiciary Committee
07.11.2014Second Circuit finds unreasonable probation sentence based on "cost of incarceration"
07.11.2014Some more informed legal buzz about marijuana reform via MLP&R
07.10.2014"The Consequences of Error in Criminal Justice"
07.10.2014Split Michigan Supreme Court rejects retroactivity of Miller for hundreds of juve lifers
07.10.2014Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles grants execution eve clemency to witness killer
07.09.2014"States Push For Prison Sentence Overhaul; Prosecutors Push Back"
07.09.2014Following the money behind sustaining pot prohibition
07.09.2014Former NOLA mayor Ray Nagin gets 10-year federal prison sentence for corruption
07.08.2014Making a spiritual case for abolishing the death penalty
07.08.2014Even as its prospects dim, Smarter Sentencing Act is impacting federal sentencing proceedings
07.08.2014Notable Third Circuit discussion of revocation of supervised release standards
07.08.2014Senators Paul and Booker introducing another important bipartisan CJ reform bill
07.07.2014Highlighting a notable lacuna in crime statistics
07.07.2014Robert Blecker suggests "5 ways to improve the U.S. death penalty"
07.07.2014Interesting account of guidelines accounting facing former NOLA mayor at upcoming federal sentencing
07.07.2014"Do Residency Bans Drive Sex Offenders Underground?"
07.05.2014High-profile ex-con (who is also an ex-Gov) eager to keep pushing for death penalty abolition
07.05.2014"The Double Edged Sword of Prison Video Visitation: Claiming to Keep Families Together While Furthering the Aims of the Prison Industrial Complex"
07.04.2014Another July 4th open thread seeking comments on liberty and freedom in the USA
07.03.2014Fascinating suggestion of "Mitt Romney for drug czar"
07.03.2014Hawaii legislatively eliminates all juve LWOP sentences for all crimes
07.03.2014"6 Months Later, Legalizing Weed In Colorado Is A Huge Success"
07.02.2014"Into the Breach: The Case for Robust Noncapital Proportionality Review Under State Constitutions"
07.02.2014An (overly?) optimistic account of how GPS technology could "solve" mass incarceration
07.02.2014Another round-up of recent posts of note from Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform
07.01.2014Significant (but unpublished!?!) Sixth Circuit ruling finding Lafler prejudice despite defendant's claims of innocence
07.01.2014Detailing a notable capital punishment surge in the Sunshine State
06.30.2014Yet more ACCA messiness out of Maryland
06.30.2014Two new examinations of white-collar prosecutions and punishment schemes
06.30.2014Could part of Hobby Lobby "havoc" include new RFRA challenges to federal drug laws and their regulatory enforcement?
06.30.2014Ninth Circuit sorts out federal case of CJA payment delayed, then CJA representation denied
06.29.2014Can and should California's enduring CJ problems be blamed on those who've long opposed a state sentencing commission?
06.28.2014Despite ugly execution, Oklahomans still strongly support death penalty
06.28.2014"Juries and Prior Convictions: Managing the Demise of the Prior Conviction Exception to Apprendi"
06.27.2014Effective review of debate over federal fraud guidelines in preview of another high-profile insider trading sentencing
06.27.2014New York Times op-ed laments Kettle Falls 5 federal marijuana prosecution
06.27.2014"Managing Prisons by the Numbers: Using the Good-Time Laws and Risk-Needs Assessments to Manage the Federal Prison Population"
06.27.2014A 22-year-old driving his parents' RV from Colorado to Wisconsin with $50K, pot and a pit-bull gets pulled over in Nebraska...
06.26.2014"What Is Criminal Restitution?"
06.26.2014Could McCullen's First Amendment scrutiny impact (and strengthen) Second Amendment claims?
06.25.2014New Sentencing Project analysis details states' sluggish response to Miller
06.25.2014Notable SCOTUS consensus that Fourth Amendment requires a warrant for cell phone searches
06.24.2014How SCOTUS Halliburton ruling could have white-collar sentencing echoes
06.24.2014"Forget Sentencing Equality: Moving from the 'Cracked' Cocaine Debate Toward Particular Purpose Sentencing"
06.24.2014Others starting to appreciate "Rand Paul, Criminal Justice Hero"
06.23.2014SCOTUS grants cert to resolve split over reach of statutory bank robbery aggravator
06.23.2014SCOTUS rules against defendant concerning required bank fraud intent in Loughrin
06.23.2014Another account of how ACCA interpretation aggravation endures, this time in Maryland
06.22.2014New York Times editorial laments stalled federal sentencing reform
06.21.2014Citing Windsor, marijuana defendant aggressively attacks federal prosecution
04.21.2014A few headline highlights concerning those celebrating different high holy day
04.21.2014"WWJD? Reform Alabama's horrible criminal sentencing laws"
04.21.2014SCOTUS takes up two criminal cases, including yet another ACCA application question
04.21.2014Is Prez Obama likely to grant clemency to "hundreds, perhaps thousands" of imprisoned drug offenders?
04.20.2014Gov Chris Christie talking up drug sentencing reform as a pro-life commitment
04.19.2014"Blackstone's Curse: The Fall of the Criminal, Civil, and Grand Juries and the Rise of the Executive, the Legislature, the Judiciary, and the States"
04.18.2014Effort to repeal death penalty in New Hampshire falls one vote short
04.18.2014Should Prez Obama create a "Presidential Commission on Mass Incarceration"? Who should be on it?
04.17.2014Another bizarre, sad and fatal case of reefer madness?
04.17.2014"Culpability and Modern Crime"
04.17.2014Big new empirical analysis of federal prosecutorial charging practices
04.16.2014Denver reporting notable 2014 crime reduction since legal pot sales started
04.16.2014"Let the Burden Fit the Crime: Extending Proportionality Review to Sex Offenders"
04.16.2014Another sign of the modern sentencing times: notable sponsor for "How the Criminal Justice System Impacts Well-Being"
04.16.2014Critical reflections on the Cantu commutation ... aka why some federal prosecutors perhaps deserve to be demonized

Events and Presentations